Category Archives: Urbi SDK

Urbi running natively on AR.Drone now!

Psykokwak, who previously hooked Urbi to the drone, has now managed to get Urbi running natively on the AR.Drone. In the video below you can see how you can upload a tar-file to your AR.Drone. After extracting the tar-file you can start Urbi and control the AR.Drone through Gostai Lab. With Urbi running on the drone itself (instead of sending commands to it from a computer running Urbi) a whole new level of hacking your AR.Drone has become reality. For performance reasons streaming video from the drone has been disabled for now.

In the following video you can see how Psykokwak controls the drone with Urbi running natively through Gostai Lab.

Developing a native Urbi driver for the AR.Drone

Psykokwak, who made the earlier Urbi-videos I wrote about, has taken Drone hacking one step further. In the videos he made a PC was still required to program the AR.Drone with Urbi. From what I understand from his blog (my French is not that good) he is now working on some native (Urbi?) software that can run on the AR.Drone itself so you won’t need a PC anymore to control the drone.

He has put up some preliminary (version 0.1) binaries and accompanying source code on his weblog with a big warning that using the code will void your warranty and might brick your AR.Drone. As Psykokwak writes the code is more of a proof of concept and the whole project a work-in-progress since it is not 100% completed.

As far as hacking the AR.Drone goes this sounds promising and it is a development worth following. But for now: don’t try this at home just yet if you don’t know what you are doing…

Programming the AR.Drone with Urbi SDK (Linux)

Jean Charles Mammana has written an AR.Drone driver for the Urbi platform. Urbi is an open-source software platform that allows you to write programs to control robots like the AR.Drone, Lego Mindstorms NXT, Bioloid, Spykee or even the Segway.

With Urbi you can use one environment to write programs and behaviors for a diverse set of robots or complex systems.

Gostai, the makers of Urbi, also have developed Gostai Lab, a rather expensive toolkit (1490 euro) with which you can develop your own graphical interfaces for your Urbi-projects. You can see the graphical interface made with Gostai Lab in the next video. However you do not need Gostai Lab to run Urbi code and control your Drone. The command line just does not look as spectacular as the GUI.

The Urbi program used in the video to have the Drone track the red ball is only 25 lines of Urbi code. You can download a Linux tar-ball of the Urbi SDK with the required AR.Drone drivers from the Urbi et AR.Drone page (French) on Jean Charles’ website to start experimenting with Urbi yourself.